Book Club last night, intrepid women fearlessly tackling sticky issues, personal travails, the obstacles on our common journey to our birthright home, our essential goodness. Last night we dove into Getting Our Bodies Back by Christine Caldwell, a somatic psychotherapist working with the seeds of addiction that lie in the body. Recovery that focuses on cognitive treatment alone will miss a big boat.
Connecting the loaded word “addiction” with over-the-top substance abuse allows us to think of it as something bad that happens to other people. Her broader definition fascinates me. What if we sat on the bench with a heroin addict, curious about what we might have in common? If we are willing to look, we might recognize our brotherhood lies in the oh-so-human ways we skillfully and not-so-skillfully avoid feeling emotions. The strategies we habitually employ to cover up the difficult and even the joyful messages from our hearts.
There are the obvious habits, the ways we use food and alcohol and drugs that we deem socially acceptable. But how about those other times, if we are awake and honest, that we consume in order to turn the volume down, to take the edge off, in short…to not feel the intensity of our sometimes fiery, challenging and painful emotional world? The heroin addict puts it on mute, but perhaps we turn the volume down.
“He who feels it, know it more.” – Bob Marley
What I love about this read is that Caldwell goes beyond the obvious addictive qualities associated with ingestible substances. She explores the fascinating world of unconscious movement “tags”, and this is where it gets really interesting to me. You know these moves: hair twisting, shoulder hunching, nail biting, nose pulling. If you don’t know your signature movement tags, just be curious in the next hour. As you track, you may notice these self-comforting moves triggered in the moments things get a little stressful, a bit uncomfortable: some conflict, some boredom, some uncertainty. Perhaps these habitual movement tags are body arrows pointing toward addiction, toward not being willing to feel. Our own little convenient safe, numbness harbors. If we are willing to witness, track what is up in that very moment, shine the light of awareness…well, that is always the first step on the journey home.
This week we build on the stepping stone of attention to breath and sensation. Caldwell says, “By staying curious to a sensation rather than squashing it, we access our ability to let it inform and change us…This is me feeling this, doing this.” IIn the internal world of breath and sensation we claim supported time to listen to heart talk and witness emotion flow. And travel upstairs to watch mental rambling, catch the pauses, be gifted with insight flashes maybe. “This is me feeling this, doing this.”
On the mat, on the dance floor, we continue our exploration of relational belly instincts. In the Enneagram world, this internal self-knowing instinct is called self-preservation because we need to know what is going on in there in order to survive. For some of us, the invitation to stay inside, to not take a partner, to station ourselves within, will be so welcome, so easy. For others, staying internal for five minutes is a huge challenge. For some of us, this instinct might dominate, making intimacy or a sense of belonging relatively challenging. For some of us, this instinct is a blind spot, making basic grounded physical survival more difficult than it needs to be. For all of us, practice shines the light of awareness on this relational instinct and brings it into balance with the other two.
Eleven days until Movement as Medicine. I am inviting you to the social media world to help us spread the word. You can use Facebook to invite your friends to this event. So easy: click here: then click on Invite Friends and do it. Please. Purchase your ticket on line now to save $5.00 off the door price. Entrance for a family of three or more is $40 at the door; students/low income $15 at the door. The raffle is becoming a big draw! In addition to great bodywork sessions, we have two weeks unlimited at It’s All Yoga & a 10 class Sunday Sweat Your Prayers Card, a Lululeman yoga mat and (are you ready?) an iPod Nano full of Bella Waves. Come enjoy an afternoon of spirited FUNdraising. Can’t come? Please DONATE here.
Rumi says “Why not wake up this morning?”
This is me feeling this, doing this, sending you love…bella